Back in 2001, I was a pre-teen in 6th grade, going through that awkward phase where you’re not a kid anymore, but you’re still not mature enough to be an adult. As such, I was anxious to explore alternative sources of music, as until then, all I had known was the mainstream world of pop princesses and boy bands (my parents did want me listening to rap music). However, a little song called “It’s Been Awhile” came into light, and really darkened up my mixtape (playlists hadn’t exactly caught on yet.) That song was by a band called Staind, and it was my first experience with what you could call “real” rock music.
Since then, I’ve kept an eye on this band through out the years. As such, I was interested in hearing their latest single, “Not Again,” which was released yesterday (7/19/2011). Although the band has lost their first member, it is still quite impressive that they’ve been around for this long, constantly putting out new music. Now, in today’s mainstream market of autotune and dance tracks, will Staind bring hard rock back to the top 40 like they did with “It’s Been Awhile?” Here’s the verdict on “Not Again.”
- Lead vocalist, Aaron Lewis, has a lower register than is striking and haunting. It really comes out on the verses with an aggressive and ominous sensitivity that delivers the lyrics with conviction.
- For a hard rock song, the hook is surprisingly catchy. It’s one that can easily get stuck in your head, and you’ll be happy to throw your fist in the air and sing along to it. “Nooooot agaaaaain!”
- Mike Mushok’s guitar solo is simply awesome, and shows some serious skill. In fact, the guitar playing is top notch through out the entire song.
- Lewis shows his aggressive side by doing a bit of screaming in this song. Now, although I agree that it’s tastefully done in this song, I’m just not a fan of screaming in general. Still, because it is done particularly well, and in moderation, it’s a minor detail that doesn’t bother me too badly.
- I became a fan of Staind for the style that was featured in low key, yet still dark and heavy tracks like “Its Been Awhile,” “Right Here,” and my personal favorite, “Epiphany.” This much heavier direction may very well be a throwback to their original style, but I much prefer the softer side of Staind. Nothing personal.
The Verdict; 3/5
I will openly admit some personal bias on this review. “Not Again” is an excellent hard rock song, but it isn’t quite my preference. Call me what you want, but I prefer the dark and haunting melodies of Break the Cycle and 14 Shades of Grey. Although Staind does excel at creating the heavier and more aggressive sound, I personally feel that their other sound was much more distinct and distinguishing. I’m still anxiously awaiting the full album, but I don’t see myself choosing this song over the rest of their discography.